Colledimezzo by Night!

The village is beautiful by day or by night. I wish these photographs could tell me about it’s history. Folks who have lived here their whole lives are eager to share their stories and have so much to tell. My mastery of the Italian language isn’t good enough to take it all in yet, but I’m learning. Soon I’ll be able to talk to the people who’s stories have been passed down through generations. As my Italian improves I will share their stories with you!

The Villages of Italy

“Buy a house in an Italian village for $1”
We read it in the newspapers, we see it on the television, but not many people pursue it. Not many people understand what these villages and houses look like, or appreciate their history. We certainly paid much more than $1 for our Italian home, and still spent a great deal after purchasing, but we weren’t looking for a project. Not easy overseeing something in Italy while living and working in the US
Now I’m retired I walk around our little Italian village daily. The contrast between houses is amazing. The photos above display two beautiful homes, but in between them, a deserted shell just begging for attention.
The huge house next to ours has been empty since the sixties. Such a shame, the architecture is amazing.
I don’t think there are any $1 homes in Colledimezzo, but when you see buildings in other villages advertised, remember, they are surrounded by history and love, and begging to be restored so they can stand proud again.

Sleepy Little Village

I’m trying to take life slowly. Forcing myself to not rush to get chores done. I have all the time in the world, but it’s quite an adjustment.
This morning I didn’t open my eyes until after seven, and then laid in bed until the clock chimed 7:15. A good time to rise.
My brain reminded me of my morning stretch routine, so I obeyed. Then upstairs to make a Cappuccino in the temperamental Smeg coffee maker. Came out perfectly. I sat on the kitchen deck and enjoyed my morning coffee. The sleepy little village had not yet come to life. No cars, no people, just the sunrise, the hillside and me.
What next?
A trip to San Vito on the coast, a pleasant walk and lunch in one of the local seafood restaurants.
It’s a hard life!!!

Distracting Landscape

How do I find a routine in this beautiful place?
I’m halfway through my third week in my new home.
Yes, I’ve done a lot. Drivers license, medical card, bank details updated, but when I’m not running around establishing my presence, I’m hypnotized by the amazing views.
A few moths ago I began writing a Children’s book, “Queen Tess – a Short Shaggy Dog Story”. I really need to finish it so my daughter can work on the illustrations.
I haven’t been totally idle. I spend a little time every day learning Italian and mixing with the locals. Talking to the village folks is a fun way to learn the language.
There was a wood fired pizza van in the piazza last night. Nothing better than a warm evening on the piazza eating pizza and drinking wine.
This morning I visited the village doctor. His office is a few steps away from my house. When I introduced myself he smiled and told me where I lived. Yes, he knew me already. News travels fast in a small village.

The day is young, after lunch I’ll jump in the little Panda and drive to Lancanio. There are a few things I need to buy that I can’t buy locally, and quite honestly…can’t wait to drive again.

Relax?

I’d like nothing more than so just sit back and enjoy the view, but I’ve moved to a new country, there are things to be done.
I quarantined until Monday and then took my COVID test at the local chemist…negative…yea! Celebrated with a typical, delicious Italian lunch at the neighboring town of Villa Santa Maria. How I was longing for that fantastic vino bianco and mouthwatering pasta. We took the day off to just enjoy being here.
Tuesday brought my first challenge. I went to apply for my Italian driver’s license in the town of Atessa. It was a long drawn out affair, but definitely not dull. Eye test, forms to sign, do I have any diseases? After a couple of hours I left the office with a copy of my British license and a stamped form certifying I’d applied for my Italian license…hope it comes soon. Back to Colledimezzo where a wood fired pizza van was parked in the square. Great way to finish the day. Best pizza I’ve had in years.
Wednesday started with a trip to Maisons du Monde, which is around 40 miles away. Needed to pick up a couple of small pieces of furniture, they remembered me from last summer. Lovely folks.
Early evening Aperol Spritz in the square with friends, and an evening of relaxation.
Thursday…still organizing things at home, also basked in the sun a little on the terrace.
Today, trip to the lovely town of Lanciano. My husband has mastered the parking system there, it can be tricky. Trip to the Bank to show them my residency card which gives us much better banking rates. Cappuccino in the sun and back home. Next week I need to get my medical insurance, then I can relax and smell the roses…retirement is suiting me I think.

New Home – New Life – Retirement

Well here I am! Been talking about it and planning it for three years, but never really thought it would happen!
I’m RETIRED!
In my head I thought I’d leave the US in a blaze of glory. I’d planned on hosting a leaving party at my local bar for a few close friends, but COVID came along and stopped that!
The two wonderful folks I supported at Western Union, hosted a small, safe, socially distancing party, which was absolutely wonderful. I was able to say goodbye to a few close friends who’d made a difference in my life. I had to fight back the tears as they said lovely things about me…were they really talking about me? I almost stood up and said STOP, I’ve changed my mind…I’m staying, but here I am, thousands of miles away in Southern Italy.
I miss my daughter, and I miss my friends, but I know they understand I needed a quieter, more relaxed life. I’m very lucky to be able to follow my dreams.
More stories to come.

Shedding my Stress

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The last six weeks have been incredibly stressful. Making an International move during a pandemic isn’t the easiest thing to do.
On Friday July 31st, we left our home of 22 years for the very last time. It was no longer a home, just a house, an empty shell. The lovely couple who bought it will make it their home now. They were excited and full of plans and ideas…all I have now are memories.
Exhausted, and still stressed, we checked into the airport hotel. After a “bon voyage” dinner with my daughter and son in law, we had an early night. My husband’s flight was at 6:30 the following morning. A flight to Rome that filled us with trepidation. Fear of catching COVID on the way. Fear of being refused entry to Italy, even though we’re residents…so much fear.
Still trying to relax, I headed up to the Rocky Mountains with my daughter, son in law, and their pups (Queen Tess and Fendi).
We drank wine, had some good food and watched lovely sunsets, but I couldn’t relax until I knew my husband had arrived safely in Abruzzo.
Finally, yesterday morning, my cell phone rang and the number displayed was “Lester Italian”.
“I’m in Pescara, I made it.”
Pescara was the last leg of his journey before he picked up the rental car and drove to our home in Colledimezzo. Now he must quarantine, and then be tested for COVID, but I’m not worried about that so much. My gut tells me he’s okay!
Now, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, I can finally shed my stress and count the days until I join him.

Sleepy Village

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Days are slipping away. I sit sipping my cappuccino and reflecting on my life. We are soon to leave our Colorado home of over 20 years. Actually it’s not even ours anymore, we’re tenants now, until we move out on August 1st. The house is sold to a wonderful couple who fell in love with it, just the way we did all those years ago. Every window has a view, mountains, trees, deer, sunsets. I know they’ll while away the evenings on the deck, watching the sunset, listening to the silence of dusk after the birds decide to slumber.
I’ve never tired of this house, or the view, but I have grown tired of the busy American lifestyle. I love my job, and the folks I work with. I’ll miss my friends, but the years seem to be flying by. Wish my daughter was moving with me, but she’ll visit. I’m ready to take life at a slower pace in a sleepy little village called Colledimezzo!

It’s good to be back!

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No, I’m not back in Italy yet, but will be soon. The little door at the bottom of this alleyway, is the back door to my new home. Looks like a little castle doesn’t it!
It makes me smile.
We’ve had such a year with this horrible virus, COVID 19. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it go away (who doesn’t)?
It left me frozen for a while. I’ve never been so stressed. Every time I showered my hair came out in clumps…didn’t think too much of it until I went to my hairstylist again, “what happened to your hair?,” he asked. He looked at me with concern at the amount I’d lost. I hope it grows back. Have other folks suffered in similar ways? I’m know I’m happy to be alive! Anyone got any stories to share, things to get off your chest!
Be safe my friends, and thank you for stopping by.

It’s been a while!

It’s been a while since I blogged. I’ve been back from Abruzzo for one week now, but my heart is still there. I didn’t leave the way of life behind, but brought it with me, in the cooking especially. I miss the simple, flavorful food so, I make it here in the US.

It doesn’t taste quite as good because the produce isn’t as fresh, but it will get me by until I return.

Retirement is on my mind!

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